National Parks VS State Parks

April 29, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Hope your week has gone well.  Today we have the battle of the parks. National VS State parks.  First of all let me say how lucky we are here in America to have so many natural resources that are available for us to recreate in. Being a Landscape photographer and Nature photographer I spend a lot of time in parks.  And to tell you the truth I like all of the camping and hiking that go along with the photography as much as the photography. To visit all of the parks is a goal that will never be reached there are so many of them. National parks in the US number  to this date 62 parks and 423 sites.  Thats a lot!  Some people make it a quest to see all 62 parks but to see them and the 423 sites would take a long time.  Now that's National Parks. State parks there are even more!  There are over 3700 state parks in the US with California having the most at 270.  North Carolina where I live has 34 which I have visited all of them.  I actually had a photography project in 2019 where I visited all of the state parks in NC in one year. So lets talk about National and State Parks.

National Parks- I am a big fan of National Parks and want to visit as many as I can.  This summer I plan on visiting 6 National Parks out west. Yellowstone became the first national park in 1872. The latest one is New River Gorge National Park which I visited last year with my photography club.  National parks are vast area's of land that are set aside to keep natural as possible and for the public to visit and recreate in Nature.  Let me tell you lots of people go the National Parks with Great Smokey Mountains being the most visited.  During the last couple of years the visitation to parks has almost doubled with people tired of being cooped up inside due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  This makes these parks very crowded with people .  Permits are required for a lot of the most popular parks and attractions to keep the wear and tear down on theses parks and for safety.  We are planning a hike in Zion National Park that is only 5 miles long but you must have a permit to go on it because of the popularity of the hike. National parks are sometimes referred to National Amusement parks because of the crowds.  But is it worth it to fight the crowds?  These are some of the most beautiful and unique places in the world like Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, or Death Valley.  They became National parks to preserve the Natural Beauty of our great nation for generations to enjoy. National Parks are usually very large in size and could take days to see only a little of them.  They have hiking, backpacking , camping, campgrounds, bike trails, and rock climbing in places. Thats just mentions a few things you can do in the National Parks not to forget photography!

State Parks- State Parks have advantages to them that the larger National Parks don't have. They are usually close by your house. I have one only 10 miles from my front door. As a matter of fact my first 10 mile backpacking adventure was from my house to this state park. I wanted to make sure I could hike 10 miles with a full pack on and if I failed I was only a phone call away from rescue. I made it . LOL These parks are usually smaller in size but may have the same features as their big brother parks.  These parks are less traveled.  People will travel to a National Park while driving right by Sandstone FallsSandstone FallsSandstone Falls located in the New River Gorge National Park in WVa. many cool and unique state parks.  These parks are getting more crowded since the outbreak  but usually not as bad as National Parks.  If you live by a big city and are going to a State Park head out early! Some of the parking lots fill up fast.  The same activities that you can do in the National Parks can be done in State Parks and the prices are usually cheaper.  Some parks are free and some you have to pay to use same as the National Parks. I prefer to camp (Car Camp) in State Parks because its cheaper and the amities are usually better.  I like to backpack in both. So when I pull my little teardrop Goose Creek GrassGoose Creek Grass camper to a campground (and its time to start again) I prefer State Park Campgrounds.

So I know the title said National Parks VS State Parks.  But why does it have to be either/or why can't it be and.  National Parks and State parks are a great way to get away from work and your house and get into nature.  I have been backpacking on the AT in the Great Smokey Mountains and Car camping at most of the State Parks in North Carolina and I love them both.  Go out and investigate your National and State Parks and enjoy the outdoors.


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